Chapter 8, part 2
One Down...Ten Billion to Go
The Trader Emergency Coalition
4 years ago, outer colonies, southern frontier, planet christened "Kitalle"
Sally picked up the last remaining threads of cucumber skin and threw them into the trash. Wiping her sleeves on her apron, she heard a soft noise behind her. Smiling, she turned around, hands on hips.
"Dill Harris, is that you?"
Her smile disappeared and her eyes widened in terror as her mouth worked noiselessly, vainly struggling to form words. The best she could muster was a low moan of horror. She took a step back and began to scream.
A knife split her throat before the sound had gone past her lips. Sally Harris slumped to the floor, eyes glazed and unseeing.
Alfr'eda stepped forward, smiling. Her teeth faintly reflected the soft reddish glow of her pupils. One down, ten billion to go. The Cleansing had begun.
Thoughtfully, Alfr'eda stroked the pale face of the Sinner. She remembered back to the day when the Sinners had sealed their fate, one thousand years ago. She remembered the black cloud of the Unity rising from the choking body of the first Sinner. She remembered each of their faces, each member that had voted to expel the Advent to the stars. Hundreds of them, and a thousand years past. The Sinners had multiplied like rabbits, but she could feel them all, a soft, nagging tug at her head, millions of little lights when she closed her eyes. She would find them all, eliminate all of the lights. The Cleansing had begun.
A door opened behind her and a man's voice called out, "Sally! Sweetheart? I'm home!"
Alfr'eda smiled. Her second Sinner. Oh yes, the Cleansing had most certainly begun.
The man entered the room slowly, his gun sweeping the room, landing on Alfr'eda with widening eyes. He must have heard her laugh of delight. Her eyes still sparkled humorously as he tried to calm his shaking hands and point the gun at her. He looked at the dead body again and gasped as if his heart had been cleaved in two. His eyes turned back to Alfr'eda, and this time there was only cold hatred.
"You. You are coming with me. You picked the wrong woman to kill. I will personally see you hang by dawn."
Alfr'eda made no move. The man held out a shiny badge he took from his inside coat pocket.
"Trade Order police! If you do not follow, I will kill you!"
Alfr'eda only smiled.
The man growled. "I will enjoy this, murderer."
His finger tightened on the trigger, but then his eyes widened in shock, and then terror. His hands started to shake harder, more violently. Slowly, ever so slowly, his hands turned the gun around and pressed it against his own forehead. He looked at Alfr'eda with uncontrollable fear in his eyes. He knew who was controlling this.
"Who..." The man licked his lips. "Who are you?"
Alfr'eda only smiled wider. The gun went off with a bang.
Zeke jumped at the sound of a gunshot. Grimacing, he pushed harder at the dark mass surrounding him. He seemed to be in control of his ears, at least. The stars only knew what devilry the Advent was getting on with in control of his---it was his!---body. Grunting, Zeke strained against the blackness that sanctioned off his mind from his body. This was the Advent's doing too, at the very beginning, when she had removed Zeke from his body and sent him to his mind. She had locked him in a corner, and thrown away the key. Then she had been locked in there with him, but now she had escaped and Zeke meant to follow soon after her. How, he had no clue. But he knew he had to destroy the block the Advent had made. Perhaps that would free him as well. His eyes almost popped with the strain. Zeke roared and grunted, mentally pushing with all his might against the block. His eyes did pop then, popped open wide enough to admit a circus, when the thing exploded in millions of tiny black fragments.
Alfr'eda frowned, and straightened from where she had been studying the second Sinner's body. That badge could come in useful...except suddenly there was something wrong with her eyes. She couldn't see a thing. If the human had done something to them.....
Suddenly she lost control of her knees and crashed to the ground. This wasn't a sudden weakness, someone had taken control of her legs. And she knew who it was. Grunting, she strained to push the human's control away from the head. If he took control of the brain, he took control of the body. If there had been anyone to watch this strange scene, they would have seen Alfr'eda's eyes flickering from low red to ice blue and back again, hundreds of times per second. She crumpled to the floor as she lost control of her arms. Paralyzed, she saw the human's control, saw it creeping up her neck, and couldn't help letting off a small sob. Things had been going so well!
The body stopped shaking, and the eyes glazed over, then jittered back to and remained on the ice blue. Zeke stood, stretching his arms. He had done it. He had broken free of the Advent's bonds. Clutching the black trench coat to him tightly, he carefully sidestepped the two bleeding bodies and ran out of the house. There was nothing he could do for them. After running a safe distance, Zeke stopped and looked at himself in the shiny side of one of the buildings. Even in the darkness of midnight, as Zeke's internal clock told him it was, the building's material shone and gave off Zeke's reflection clearly. He was decked out in black from head to toe, starting with the dark, rubber boots to the wide-brimmed black hat on his head. The hat, when tilted properly, created a shadow over his face, hiding his mutilations. Black gloves covered his rotted hands. Tilting the hat to the right degree, Zeke strode on, thinking hard. The costume had most certainly belonged to a antagonist from some star-struck film, that was obvious, but Zeke had had no time to grab anything else. And he had more important problems than his wardrobe. He had to find someone, tell someone, what had happened to him. What was happening to him. He had to find a way to kill the Advent inside of him. If only he could not hear her uncontrollable laughter.